There's a saying that goes something like, we teach what we need to learn the most. You've probably heard the advice, write what you know. Here's another twist...write what you need to learn the most. Could be an article, a blog post, or a full blown book.
The process of researching and penning the words helps to etch new behaviors on your brain and ensures that the information will be in your mind ready to be accessed when needed.
One universal affliction that many writers suffer from is overwhelm. There's just too much information flooding in, which prevents you from taking enough action because you're listening to too many people.
Being a lifelong learner on this subject I included a chapter on overwhelm in my book, 'YES! You're Published'. Here are a few excerpts and 3 exercises to keep you moving forward and upward:
Two of the best ways to avoid Overwhelm is to clarify exactly what you will and won’t do and whom you will and won’t follow for advice. Look at your life and figure out how you can create more happiness by eliminating as much as possible. I call this stress prioritizing. For this example, writing is at the top of the list. Analyze your daily to-do list and for each item ask, will this further my writing goals? If yes, it stays. If no, can it be removed, delegated to someone else, or at least reduced in time or made easier in some way?
You have to decide what’s most important to you and what you can sacrifice or minimalize. Where do you want to be in one year, five years, and ten years? NOW is the time to pave that path. You can do it without suffering from Overwhelm but you have to be strict, disciplined, and exercise your right to be yourself and say no to what doesn’t make you happy.
You must tame the turbulent flow of information that crosses your path and intersects your thoughts everyday. Here are a few exercises to get you started:
- Evaluate where you can delete or change with a “take no prisoners” mentality.
- Decide what knowledge you need to further your immediate writing goals for current projects and make a list.
- Go through your inbox and remain subscribed only to the information that offers you prime not pressured writing education to advance your written goals.
It’s not about just doing it all. The most precious part of life is the experiences we have, and whom we have them with. Being in demand is great but if you’re sinking in Overwhelm quicksand, or feel like you’re on autopilot then the days zoom by without your active participation. This is your life and there are no do-overs.
How do you tame the overwhelm in your life? Do you have steps that you suggest to stay focused and productive in crazy times? Please share in the comments below!